Top Secret Tinseltown

So this is a city with a lot of secrets. 


I’m not talking about just the run-of-the-mill, non-disclosure agreement (NDA).


This is Top Secret Tinseltown!


And even the stuff that comes out in the news–whether it’s clandestine transfers of $1.7 billion to the Ayatollahs in Iran or the Uranium One deal with the Russians, there is plenty of dirty little games going on. 


What was hilarious is when when saw this huge industrial shredding truck in the parking lot:

Paper Shredding * Electronic Destruction * Medical Waste Disposal


And there were a line of cars waiting to get rid of their little secrets.


I kid you not when I say that on a Saturday morning, there were at least 25 cars in line to dispose of their “stuff.”


Now who do you know in what city that waits 25 cars deep in line for an industrial shredder on a Saturday morning.


And the cars are pulling up, the trunks are popping open, and boxes and boxes of paper and electronic files are being handed over. 


Gee, I hope the Russians or Chinese aren’t getting into the shredding business…and inside the truck isn’t a large shredder but a bunch of analysts waiting for you to hand it all over. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal) 

Ilhan Omar – Laughing At Terrorism Against America

It’s time to stop defending this anti-American hate-monger who sits in the esteemed House of Representatives.


Omar’s words: 

When I was in college, I took at terrorism class….we learned the ideology…Every time the professor said Al Qaeda, his shoulder went back {in intensity/fear}…We are laughing his name.


Watch her video here mocking Americans about terrorists, Al Qaeda–the same who killed 3,000 people on 9/11.


This is just one of many instances of her extreme callousness, like where she recently said casually about 9/11, “Some people did something“–that something which was a mass murder terror attack on American soil. 

As we contemplate the hate-mongering of Ilhan Omar, we should think about what Luthern pastor, Martin Niemoller once cautioned: 

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

This isn’t about left and right, but about hatred, bigotry, and racism at the highest levels, and we need to stand together against it. 😉


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Who Is The Most Dangerous?

Recently, I started watching this show called “Billions.”


I’m in the middle of Season 2, and it is a brilliant and mesmerizing show that depicts the battle between the CEO of a Wall Street Hedge Fund and the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of NY.


Ands it is a true battle of wits, might, and it gets ugly in every way. 


(I won’t spoil the show…)


But there is one line from the show that came out in the heat of an exchange between the two at the end of Season One that I wanted to share:

The only thing more dangerous than a person with unlimited resources is a person who has nothing to lose.

When you think about it, there is tremendous wisdom and truth in this, and a poignant lesson to be learned for every person, organization, and even nation of great power.


No matter how much money, people, and assets you may have to fight…


…if the other guy has nothing to lose and is willing to go do the unthinkable then we have a very big problem indeed. 

Desperate times call for desperate measures. 


From those desperate and willing to act as suicide bombers to those that would actually push the button on a nuclear, biological, chemical, or radiological attack, there is no winning even if you are the last one left standing.


The other guy who feels he has already lost is willing to take you with him by any and all means. 


Therefore, we cannot and should not ever think that the battle against evil is won, because even when the opponent appears in all respects to be defeated that may be when they become even more dangerous to us than ever.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

North Korea — No Deal!

This is sort of what I feel happened with North Korea and the U.S. at the Summit in Vietnam this week. 


We went into this thinking that the enticement of moving from war to prosperity, like with Vietnam, would set the stage for North Korea to see that truly, peace is the answer! 


But when there is no real trust between the people negotiating, then you get a lot of gesturing, but no real determination to make a commitment–like getting rid of those crazy nukes!


For now from North Korea’s perspective, “one in the nukes is worth two in the prosperity”…and they aren’t going to disarm so easily and give away what they consider their ace in the hole.  


High hopes, lots of drama, confusion and blame, and ultimately a big let down.


If North Korea would give up their nukes, and Iran would give up their pursuit of nukes…WOW, WOW, WOW, oh what a world that would be. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Border Security – The Facts

So in this longest of U.S. government shutdowns, one thing that is missing from the debate are an articulation of the facts. 


All I hear day-in and -out is that President Trump wants to build a wall or barrier on the Southern border because there is a crisis. And the Democrats in turn say it’s not necessary, it’s a waste of money, and even that it’s immoral, and that they will resist Trump!


But this is not a reasoned debate!


Who cares who wants what and who hates who in politics.


We need to be presented with a solid communication of facts, figures, and why should we support a position or not. 


Yes, an endorsement by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection is helpful, but the opposition can just claim partisan politics. 


So here are some simple facts to inform the discussion:


Gun Trafficking:

– Over 253,000 guns annually cross the border from the U.S. to Mexico.


Drug Trafficking:

– Cartels send $64,000,000,000 of drugs annually from Mexico to U.S. 


Human Trafficking:

– Between 14,500 and 17,500 people are trafficked annually into the U.S. 


Gang Members:

– Almost 6,000 gang members in 2018 were deported by ICE.


Illegal Immigrants:

– The U.S. and Customer and Border Protection apprehended more than 500,000 illegals trying to enter in 2008, and there are between 12 to 22 million illegals in the U.S, today


Looking at these numbers, I am not sure how anyone can say that the current border situation is secure–it isn’t. 


So whatever we are doing with agents, sensors, surveillance, intelligence, inspection, and interdiction –no matter how good it is–it is not enough. 


Certainly a request for Border Wall funding for $5 billion out of a $4.4 trillion dollar budget and placing barriers on hundreds of miles out of a 2,000 mile border, does not seem at all extreme!


While I do not like to be on a government shutdown, I certainly don’t see why this can’t be resolved with some reasoned border security funding that includes among the other security measures, a wall/barrier. 


A strategically-placed border barrier only stands to reason in a layered defense/system of systems approach to security. 


For some of those that don’t want the wall, and only want votes from a broken immigration system, this is a fight for power, rather than a genuine argument on how to help secure the country. 


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

Trump Is Right On The Border Wall

Please see my new article in The Times of Israel called, “We Need To Stand Strong On The Wall.

By themselves, walls do not work to fill us spiritually or protect us physically. Rather, they are a necessary component in a normal and healthy toolbox for living our lives. Spiritually, we need to not just pray toward the holy wall in Jerusalem, but we must augment this with following G-d commandments–doing good in our service to Hashem and in how we treat others. Likewise with protecting us physically, we need a strong mix of “gates, guards, and guns.” A wall is a critical component of our overall spiritual and physical well-being and protection.

 
Until Mashiach comes and the temple is rebuilt and there is peace on earth, we need to pray to the Western Wall (Kotel) for our spiritual well-being and have border walls to protect us physically.
 
(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

At The Border: Immigration Or War

So it’s interesting how this whole immigration crisis is playing out in real life and simultaneously on TV. 


In real life, we have a caravan of thousands of people marching from Central America (Honduras and Guatemala) to the U.S. border seeking asylum, mostly for economic reasons. 


On TV, we have the Last Ship Season 5, where South and Central America are at war with the U.S., “no longer willing to sit at the children’s table of international politics,” and they are coming to the U.S. to fight.


In the U.S. today, there are over 40 million people that were born in another country.  Of these, there are over 12 million immigrants living illegally in the U.S. (55% from Mexico), and we know that we need immigration reform.  


In the truest sense, we are almost all of us immigrants to this country, with ourselves or our families coming over at one time or another, and we are grateful for the generosity and open doors that allowed us to come here and make a good life.


Of course, we want to pay it forward and give others the same asylum and opportunity that we had and which they as human beings deserve. 


Yet, the country continues to debate the mix of compassion and giving to the oppressed and needy versus the merit principles for bringing in needed skills, talents, and investment, and how many is the “right” number to allow in at any one time.


In real life, we are beefing up border agents, building a wall, and calling in the military to halt the illegal flow of immigrants, so that we can channel immigrates through a process and vetting that leads to legal and safe immigration to this country


On TV, we are fighting in the air, on land, and at sea an alliance of countries from the south and central that want to take over the U.S., and we are also holding our own and holding them back.


In both cases, we need to have and maintain borders to be a sovereign country, to protect our country, and to ensure that caravans of illegal immigrants or foreign troops are not crossing the border and doing harm. 


It’s high time for true immigration reform that is compassionate yet principled, but overrunning the border isn’t an option that is practical or fair.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)